Afternoon of 25th September 2007, Tuesday
After the floating islands, we chose Sillustani for the afternoon. It is not a must see, just that I hate to miss a necropolis ever since Egypt. The way people have been buried often indicates how people lived.
Sillustani is about 30 KMs from Puno and overlooks the very blue Lake Umayo. The burial chambers called chullpas pre-date the Inkas and were built to bury the royals of the Colla tribe. You can see the primitive "stack of rock" chullpas juxtaposed with the immaculately cut, curved and fitted in place airtight masonry. The advance is the skills of the builders is a fascinating site
We were not intending to hire a guide for this site though we were approached by a very eager young student called Ivan. He knew his history well, was very articulate and patiently walked me to every chullpa on the site. He even stood guard at chullpa while I quenched my curiosity by sauntering over a wall. It is amazing how people are always curious to get into somebody else's grave without being in their shoes.
The site has an incomplete chullpa with the neatly measured and laid out stones. The stones carry the plumb lines drawn by a very steady hand all those years ago. The location is almost alive as if the workers have taken a lunch break and will return noisily any moment to continue their art.
Rhea was her usual energizer bunny until suddenly, for a few moments, I saw her pensive - almost reflecting the calm of the lake behind her.
It was quite a moment for me. No pun intended.
Then we saw the quintessential "cute kids with the cute lamb" and as fleece met fleece, Rhea's face rearranged into a pious expression - the one I have seen her don every time she is with a baby animal.
As the sun lethargically tilted westwards, we left the empty funerary towers to their solitude, tumbled into the van and headed home.